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LETTER: 'Bum solution' ideas questioned; editor responds

Nov. 27, 2017
       I hardly think Obama is responsible for the bums you write about. [See "Editor's Desk: How to Solve the Bum Problem," by Kenyon Jordan, at this link.] They pre-date him and many new ones will be born after him.
       I agree we need to get rid of the bums; the state hospital would be a nice dumping ground for them. But don't blame Obama - after all,. Trump has his very own crop of bums, according to your reasoning.

       Bill Walker

       Westside Pioneer Editor Kenyon Jordan replied to the letter-writer as follows:
       Bill - I appreciate the feedback. To a couple of points you raised...
       - I realize that mentioning former President Obama in a negative context irritates some people, and I probably should have provided an explanation. To expand here: Despite an appearance of personal decency, Obama unfortunately portrayed to America the message that people on the lower end of the economic scale (and/or with different skin colors) are victims of an unjust system. I think the messages of presidents should never be underestimated and, while bums obviously pre-date Obama, in his eight years we saw disconcerting increases in people receiving types of government assistance (including in Colorado, where Medicaid is the fastest growing part of the budget).
       Part of the "injustice" ripple effect, I believe, is an inordinate number of people shedding personal responsibility and assuming that the rest of society owes them a living. Among these are the ones we see camping willy-nilly, leaving behind horrific messes, occupying public places, setting careless fires and leeching off anyone they can. That's why they deserve to be called "bums."
       I don't know how you perceive President Trump - I'm guessing you dislike him - but at least he is projecting the image of a healthy America, one that encourages people to be strong, hard-working and contributors to their communities. That kind of America values ALL its people, young, old, rich, poor, man, woman, black, white, etc.
       Over time, I think the impact of that healthy image will - if accompanied by laws and/or policies supporting it - result in fewer bums. These things don't happen by accident.
       I'd also like to assert here a clear distinction between bums and homeless, because temporary homelessness can happen even to good-hearted people, especially with our widespread affordable housing problem. Long-time Colorado Springs homeless advocate Matt Parkhouse elaborates on that distinction in a recent Westside Pioneer guest column at this link.
       - As to using the state hospital as a "dumping grounds" for bums, that is not what I wrote. In short, my (admittedly conceptual) proposal is to remove such folk from the streets to receive thorough mental assistance, which would ideally benefit them as well as the community.
       I know that other types of bum solutions have been proposed. But one thing is certain: Changing the current plan locally will not be easy, considering that its community insensitivity has been framed by clever lawyers posing as First Amendment protectors, has been fostered by softhearted types (some of whom derive job security from growing needy numbers) and has been prolonged by city leaders fearful of being viewed as uncompassionate.

(Opinion: Letters)

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